A friend of mine on Facebook (that is, a real friend who happens to also be on Facebook) just posted a comment about a link I shared concerning Julian Assange and Wikileaks. His view of the situation (and Julian’s future) are understandably grim. However, the news isn’t quite as dark as you might think. Here is my reply to him:
Don’t be too sure it’s all that easy for the bad guys. There are a LOT of issues at stake here, and a LOT of organizations unconnected to Wikileaks realize their livelihoods are at stake too. Various big players are raising their heads now, some against and some FOR Julian. As we speak, the Australian government is in turmoil as pro-Wikileaks members of Parliament are beginning to rebel against the anti-Wikileaks Prime Minister. Other governments are becoming polarized as well – including America and Britain, though much more quietly.
The media community also realizes they are in danger. If Julian goes down, they are ALL going to be subject to the precedents and any new laws created to get him. Never before in American history has a media outlet been prosecuted for releasing information that was acquired (even illegally) by another party. (For example: the Pentagon Papers.) So the media will fight if the government tries to prosecute someone for it now.
Same goes for any organizations that focus on human rights, free speech, democracy, etc, etc. To take down Wikileaks, the very basis of freedom of speech has to be destroyed. They will all unify to fight that.
Then there are big companies like Paypal, Mastercard, Visa, Amazon, etc. These guys have exposed themselves as tools of a corrupt system, and they are suffering accordingly. Visa and Mastercard are likely going to have their licenses to do business suspended in Iceland. And several companies that served as proxies for Wikileaks donations are preparing to sue Visa (at least).
And THEN there are the hoards of cyber-activists out there, such as Project Payback that arose from Anonymous. Project Payback decided to target any company, government or bank that attempts to censor or stop Wikileaks – and they have shut down websites from Paypal to government offices to international banks. Even outside of the “hacktivists”, there are people out there that have mirrored Wikileaks, offered them server space (such as Pirate Bay!) and otherwise made it all but impossible to ever remove from the Internet the information that Wikileaks has put out there.
And, last but certainly not least, there is the Insurance File. Before Wikileaks began this global campaign, they sent out a massive encrypted file to anyone and everyone who wanted a copy. It is called “Insurance.” Julian has stated that the information contained therein would be akin to a political thermonuclear bomb- and the key to decrypt it will be released automatically the moment Julian or anyone connected with Wikileaks is harmed.
We are witnessing the First Global Cyber-War. And it looks like Wikileaks might win this one.